Officers from the Caledon Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) would like to take this opportunity to share some important reminders to best protect yourself from vehicle thefts.

Today’s auto thieves are increasingly turning to technology that bypasses security systems allowing vehicles to be stolen. Electronic auto theft is on the rise as more vehicles are equipped with technology such as keyless entry fobs. In fact, the insurance industry has seen the growing trend that thieves are able to copy FOB information and steal cars right from your driveway. The term is “relay thefts” and it involves the use of equipment designed to boost and exploit the signals sent out by a vehicles legitimate key fob. This allows for a thief to unlock and start an engine of a vehicle remotely.

Residents can help protect their vehicles by taking any of the following crime prevention measures:

• Ensure your vehicle keys are kept well away from doors and windows;

• Use a signal blocking pouch – they can block your key fob from transmitting its code to the vehicle as the pouch is lined with layers or metallic material;

• Turn off the keyless fob wireless signal at night – refer to your car manual for instructions;

• Use a steering wheel lock or car alarm – this could add a significantly delay or be a deterrent for thieves;

• Consider a secondary audible car alarm – which works by using sensors placed in different points of your vehicle;

• Park in the garage (if possible); and,

• Insert a car tracker – unusual activity is monitored and car can be tracked using GPS if stolen

Police and its insurance industry partners also want to raise public awareness about the opportunities for criminals who intend to steal personal identification from unsecured vehicles. Licenses, insurance, vehicle ownerships, passports, as well as mobile devices or laptops, offer criminals the opportunity to further victimize individuals who do not lock their vehicles, or who leave their valuables in plain view.

Vehicle owners/passengers can do simple things to decrease the risk of being victimized, such as:

• Never leave a running vehicle unattended

• Lock your doors

• Roll up your windows

• Keep valuables out of sight

• Keep your registration and proof of insurance in your wallet or purse, not in the glove box

• Pocket your keys

• At night or during extended parking periods, always park in a well-lit area.

If you see unusual activity in your community, report it to police. Make note of vehicle licence plates if you can. You can also provide information anonymously by contacting Peel Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or online at www.peelcrimestoppers.ca. When you contact Crime Stoppers you stay anonymous, you never have to testify, and you could receive a cash reward of up to $2000 upon an arrest.

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